Collecting Seeds | Vegetables

Glass Gem Corn & Flint Corn: Saving Popcorn Kernels

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Prepare to be dazzled! While you may be used to traditional dark golden popcorn kernels from the store, you can actually grow and save glass gem corn and other varieties of flint corn as popcorn kernels.

Glass gem corn comes in gorgeous colors like pink, purple, blue, and green. It’s a kind of flint corn, which is often used as popcorn.

Popcorn comes from a corn plant much like sweet corn. As a type of flint corn, popcorn kernels have a much tougher outer shell that is not suitable for fresh eating.

However, when heated, popcorn seeds explode and voila, you’ve got a tasty snack.

Super exciting stuff! I’m excited about it, anyway. Hope you are, too. I never dreamed of growing popcorn until 2021!

Beautiful Popcorn Glass Gem Corn Seeds in a Mason Jar Lid on a Granite Table
Beautiful Popcorn Glass Gem Corn Seeds in a Mason Jar Lid on a Granite Table

Hopefully my post will inspire you to grow and save your own popcorn!

Let’s go over some cool info about glass gem corn and saving your own homegrown popcorn kernels.

Where does popcorn come from?

Popcorn comes from a popcorn plant! The popcorn kernels come from the corn cobs that grow on this plant. You remove them from the cob and then you can make your own popcorn. When heated, the popcorn kernels expand as the steam builds and finally they explode into what we know and love as popcorn.

Where do popcorn seeds come from?

Like sweet corn, popcorn grows on a cornstalk and pollinates by a tassel. When pollination occurs, the popcorn seeds grow on the cobs underneath all the husks. Once the popcorn cobs dry out, you can harvest popcorn seeds for popping.

Pink and Purple Popcorn, Homegrown
Pink and Purple Popcorn, Homegrown

When is popcorn ready to harvest?

Knowing when to harvest popcorn isn’t difficult. Simply wait until the entire cornstalk and cob lose their green coloring. Once dry and brown in color, your popcorn should be ready to harvest. If you aren’t sure, you can leave it on the stalk a bit longer, or bring it inside and set it in a basket until you’re ready to harvest popcorn seeds from your homegrown popcorn.

Is glass gem corn edible?

Yes, glass gem corn is edible. You can pop glass gem corn seeds that you save from your garden to enjoy delicious, homegrown popcorn at your next family movie night.

Other types of flint corn also make great popping corn. Consider fiesta corn and Japanese hulless popcorn, among others.

Here’s a picture of homegrown popcorn popped from our 2021 garden.

Glass Gem Corn Popcorn Popped - Colorful Kernels and popped corn
Glass Gem Corn Popcorn Popped – Colorful Rainbow Kernels and popped corn from several varieties of homegrown popcorn

Do popcorn seeds go bad?

Going bad isn’t technically the issue with older popcorn seeds or kernels. The interior of the seed may dry out over time, which limits how well the popcorn can pop. It might instead burn or end up tasting stale. As far as planting, glass gem seeds and other popcorn seeds may go bad in the sense that they may not germinate and may no longer be viable.

How to Save Glass Gem Corn & Other Popcorn Kernels

Discover how to save glass gem corn and other popping corns from your garden harvest! It’s easy and fun as well as pretty satisfying.

Saving popcorn kernels from homegrown plants - corn cobs and harvested seeds on table
Saving popcorn kernels from homegrown plants – corn cobs and harvested seeds on table
  1. Wait until corn stalks and husks are dry and brown before removing popcorn cobs from the plant.
  2. Hold the corn cob in one hand and the stalk in the other. Twist and pull the corn cob to remove it from the plant.
  3. Allow the popcorn to dry for several more days or as long as you like until kernels are fully hard and dry.
  4. Place a paper plate or bowl under you before you remove any popcorn seeds.
  5. Use your thumb to gently free a few kernels at the tip of the corn cob, popping them free as you go.
  6. Continue pulling the popcorn kernels from the cob one by one by pulling with the tip of your thumb, or pushing with your thumb. Either method is fine as long as it is comfortable for you.
  7. Continue line by line of popcorn seeds until you have an empty cob.
  8. Repeat these steps for the next one until you are all done harvesting glass gem popcorn seeds or any other varieties that you have.

Saving Fiesta Corn & Glass Gem Corn on Video

The girls and I loved saving glass gem corn and fiesta corn popcorn. It’s actually sort of therapeutic.

Here’s a video of our efforts – hope this is helpful and also hope it inspires you to save your own homegrown popcorn as well!

Saving homegrown popcorn – glass gem corn and fiesta corn!

Tips for Storing Popcorn Seeds / Kernels

When saving popcorn, glass gem corn is beautiful to behold. The hues of the kernels dazzle and delight. Even my daughters enjoyed helping to remove the glass gem corn seeds from the cobs so we could save them for popcorn.

Here are a few tips on how to store popcorn seeds and kernels you’ve harvested.

  • Make sure all popcorn kernels are fully dry and firm before harvesting. They should be really hard!
  • Choose glass jars with lids for popcorn seed storage. Mason jars of all sizes can accommodate your glass gem popcorn harvest.
  • Label each jar with the type of popcorn. For example, write Popcorn Glass Gem Corn, Popcorn Fiesta Corn, and so forth.
  • Store the jars in a cool, dry place. A shelf on your pantry would probably do fine. And, if you want to grow popcorn from seed all over again next season, just pull a pinch of kernels out and plant them!
Homegrown Popcorn Seeds in Blue Mason Jars
Homegrown Popcorn Seeds in Blue Mason Jars

These are my best tips on saving glass gem corn kernels as popcorn.

Have you tried homegrown popcorn yet? Do you have any other tips we can add or questions to ask?

Feel free to shout out in the comments – we love hearing from you!

Happy Gardening!

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